[Marxism] NATO's eastward expansion

Matthew Russo russo.matthew9 at gmail.com
Mon Apr 14 17:48:09 MDT 2014

But Louis, you don't really address the nub of the argument, which is not
mere empty rhetoric or phrase-mongering.  And the comment had nothing to do
with Feldman's "gangrene scratches" and the rest of that teleological
nonsense.  But my comment does, in an ironic way.

Not all of us have the time to deep dive into the empirical material.  That
makes it all the more incumbent on those who do have this time to get ALL
of their political ducks in a row.

I've made it clear where I stand on the fundamentals.  Our opponents on the
Left, many of them honestly unawares, have made some very unsavory
political bedfellows of a frankly "Red-Brown" flavor.  Those who are aware
appear, on the "red" side, to be either unreconstructed Neo-Stalinists, or
what I call "Parvus Post-Stalinists".  The first push a "counterhegemonic"
strategy based on the erroneous theory of an all-powerful global "US
hegemony" pushed by MR and others and very popular on the Left right now,
one being refuted by reality as events in Ukraine unfold and expose the
real powerlessness of the NATO powers to do anything about it, except
possibly to produce more havoc and disorder - this last matter to which I
will return.  A careful parsing of the Western press will confirm this.
The second simply wish to opportunistically hitch a ride with the "rising"
imperialisms, Russia, China, whatever.

By "transnational capital" is meant imperialism(s), one can presume. For
example Gazprom is a typical TNC, a state-capitalist TNC in fact. IMO - and
I've stated this before - it *is* hard to imagine ACTUALLY LEADING workers
in the class struggle without taking into account the (ever shifting,
geographically variable) balance of forces not only between the opposing
classes in individual countries, but also between different states,
particularly between different, competing imperialist states, as these by
definition relate themselves to workers outside their home imperialist

This latter constitutes a metaphorical "chessboard", a parallelogram of
forces.  But so too is the class struggle within an individual country, and
so to is the struggle with our opponents on the left with regard to Libya
or Syria or Ukraine.  All can be seen conjoined in the metaphor of a
multidimensional "chessboard".  But why "play" on one level and not the

Why exclude *full* consideration of the concrete geopolitical situation?  I
can understand the exclusion of reductions of a (multidimensional) reality
to that of the "Grand Chessboard", otherwise commonly known as
"realpolitik" or in academia as "Realist International Relations Theory".
But I cannot fathom the exclusion of non-reductive considerations of the
geopolitical situation in relevant context, *on principle*.

Which means in practice having nothing really to say at all about the
geopolitical situation.  While I don't agree with the writer that this
automatically translates into "a counsel of defeat", it is hard to see how
a working class could win power in any single state without taking the
general geopolitical situation into account.  This question is really very
elementary my dear Watson.

Ironically this avoidance may have something to do with a sort of "reverse
fear of gangrene".  For instance, if I say that the the present Kiev
"government" really is a disgusting ultra-neoliberal POS (in class terms),
that the US (but not the EU, as Ms. Nuland so oafishly revealed)
specifically intervened in the Maidan to attempt to drive it in a certain
direction, and that the US is presently pushing to have the provisional
Kiev government launch a bloodbath in the East as part of a strategy to
toss a flaming bag of s**t at imperialist rival Russia's doorstep in the
hopes of drawing it into another Afghanistan a la Brzezinski, only much
worse this time - does that mean infection from the zombies?

Isn't the threat of a US-instigated bloodbath part of the Donetsk context?
Is the very recent secret visit to Kiev by CIA Director Brennan -
supposedly traveling incognito - confirmed by the White House as "routine"
(and I am sure that CIA ties with elements of Ukrainian security services
are very routine indeed) and still largely unreported except in The
(scroll to the bottom) - mere coincidence in context?

While I don't consider the present manifestations in Donetsk evidence of an
honest to goodness mass movement, any bloody crackdown by the Kiev Koup
Klowns presents a real prospect of igniting a real mass movement in the
Donbass.  What if 100's of thousands take to the streets in self-defense in
what we all know is a famous old industrial district?

In that not at all hypothetical case - it is a palpable present danger -
which side will you be on?  I know where I will stand - against the Kiev
regime.  Precisely in context.  And not simply as "Putin's pawns" even if
Putin thinks they are his pawns.  What is now a mere Putin instigation IMO
could attain a different quality if the geopolitical context shifts thanks
to the US meddling.  Fortunately Kiev has failed twice to launch that
military repression.  Let's hope it stays that way, in what would by a
victory for the people of east Ukraine and also another defeat for US
imperialism.  That, and not "hoping for the bloodbath that will bring out
the 'real' workers", is where I presently stand.  In the present but
potentially rapidly changing context.

That's why I never understood - beginning with Phan Binh - this abandonment
of the geopolitical "chessboard" to our opponents. This leaves one disarmed
if and when the geopolitical context changes.  Why hand the keys to this
over to our blood opponents on the Left?  Why not take it from them?

Look what became of Binh:  An anti-sectarian who, via the Syria question,
wound up as just another flavor of sectarian.  What a tragedy.


> But to try to imagine
> productive struggle of any sort by the working class without taking into
> account the effect on the course of that struggle of the activity of
> transnational capital, that 'chess game', in its geopolitical designs to
> overcome all opposition to hegemony of a sector of that capital, on
> opposing capital as well as on the working class world-wide, is to
> counsel defeat.

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